Welcome to Soundings! The blogsite of Caitlín Matthews.

Exploring Myth, Divination and the Western Mysteries.

All blogs are copyright Caitlín Matthews.
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Sunday 2 August 2015


‘In a case in the Natural History Museum lie the sparse remains of shooting stars that have embedded in the earth, solemnly labelled “fragments of former worlds,”’ reported by Jacquetta Hawkes in her moving snd poetic topographical history of Britain, A Land

The Milky Way by CM
A second 'earth-like' planet, older than our own, has been discovered in the galaxy: excitement about colonizing this distant  rocky world is gripping many who have an eye to the main chance, as the human ability to asset-strip another world through our greed hoves into view again. However, there is a draw-back. Scientists are viewing this new planet now as it once looked in 615CE - a mere 1400 years ago. The timeslip involved between cup and lip may be sufficiently wide to prevent any such colonization, we hope.

In every age, fragments of former worlds are alive within the nesting generations alive at one time, from great-grand parent to great-grandchild.  As successive generations grow older and die, some of these fragments are forgotten, while others stick out like markers, leading to who knows where.  There is nothing more poignant than the detritus of those who were alive and have been gone for some time, just as archaeologists find who dig up items whose use has long been forgotten, hazarding a guess as to their purpose, so as to compose a label in a museum. 

What fragments of former worlds are you hosting?  Not just granny’s biscuit barrel or the neolithic hand-axe you dug from your garden while laying the foundations for shed, but the deeply embedded fragments within your consciousness that are the gifts of memories not yours. For  there is a department of our psyche that is a true museum - a word originally meaning ‘a place dedicated to the muses.’  Within that museum of the soul, we carry ancestral memory, the blueprints of knowledge and skill, the atavistic remnants of what once blazed glorious with life but which is now merely dust waiting to be reborn.  These remnants often lie dormant until such time as we add a liquid ingredient that reconstitutes memory in a remarkable way: this happens in infinitesimal moments, triggered by a scent, the line of a poem or the view of a landscape.  Then, hologramically, the memory stirs back into life and you are suddenly living a memory you can never have known in your present form.

The Mound of Wonders from
The Celtic Shaman's Pack by John Matthews
It is almost as if you were part of a set of Matryoshka Russian dolls, nesting one within the other and you are resonant with someone before or behind you.  The fragments of former worlds stir and reconstitute themselves in your soul.  These ancestral memories come in many forms: sometimes as true knowledge, sometimes tinged with apprehension, at other times with a neutrality of vision that doesn’t quite develop into understanding. Yet when we give this fleeting impression the time and space to reveal itself, we find we have a window that opens wider.

We think of ancestors as only being human, yet we have ancestry and kindred that go back through every single living being, right  back to the protean stars whose remains were once so quaintly labelled in the Natural History Museum in London.  When we begin to consider this prospect of our wider ancestry, then the Matryoshka doll effect changes shape.  Embedded and encoded within us is not just the matter from which universes were and will be made, but also the memory of those universes also, past and to come. 

When we begin to think of ourselves as museums of the future, not just of the past, we gain a very different way of considering the world in which we live, and maybe we shape our behaviour in different ways.  While our present fashions and customs will undoubtedly seem out-moded by our descendants, there is that within you that they will find of value in times that we cannot yet imagine.  When you are dust, your prayer for them can still be revolving, waiting for that moment when their need, or their lack of vision, requires something that only ancestry can provide.  Those precious fragments of knowing or understanding that you have hosted, can leap beyond the generations to become living guidance that shapes worlds yet to be.

You too leave your own trace in the universe, especially when you hold in mind all who share it with you:

Recognize your companions and give them honour,
For they stem from the same source as yourself.
Out of every generation we have been called as seekers, as children of wisdom.
It is right to remember how your quest began, the books that you read,
The wise words of the teachers that replied to your simple questions.
But books and teachers are not the only guides. In the silence of your heart,
In the watches of the night, you have closed your eyes and discovered
That your companions, your sisters and brothers, have been praying with you eternally.
Now that you are one in understanding,
You can make the journey and achieve your quest. 

- adapted by Caitlín from the Hermetic Discourse on the Eighth and Ninth, Corpus Hermeticum